Saturday, 1 August 2009

Gaza um frasco?

fonte:Palestine Chronicle

Gaza in a Jar?

Some were told: 'shoot and don't worry about the consequences.'

By Dallas Darling

During the Nuremberg Trials, there is a story of a disturbing incident that occurred. The prosecution was finding it difficult to convict those accused of committing crimes against humanity. The suspected war criminals were either justifying their mass murder as acts of self-defense, or claiming to be helpless statesmen and soldiers only obeying orders. Someone then brought in the head of a Jewish victim preserved in a jar. While prosecutors explained it had been used as a paper weight, and a senior officer of a death camp identified it as his, a horrified groan and gasp could be heard among those in attendance.

This incident came to mind when a U.N. team recently investigated alleged war crimes during the Israeli-Gaza War, and when Amnesty International reported human atrocities were committed by Israel and Hamas. Although the Jewish Holocaust and Palestinian Naqba are two differing events occurring at different times, the principles of injustice, human suffering, and ethnic killings are somewhat similar. So were the inactions of the major powers and feelings of numbness shared by the world, whether towards European Jews or Palestinians living in present-day Gaza. (The two events may even be tragically interwoven!)

Both the U.N. and Amnesty International found that Israeli Defense Forces killed hundreds of Palestinian civilians and destroyed thousands of Gaza Strip homes in numerous attacks and a sustained aerial bombing campaign. They also revealed evidence of Israel using artillery, white incendiary phosphorus, and other indiscriminate weapons in densely populated areas. Some witnesses even accused Israeli forces of using Palestinians as "human shields." Hamas rocket attacks against Israel were also considered war crimes.

While Israel and Hamas denounced the reports, people in Gaza remain in a jar. According to the evidence, the death of so many children, women, and other civilians (over 900) by Israeli forces showed elements of reckless conduct and disregard for unarmed civilians, treating them like objects. The report further said the Israeli invasion and attacks on several schools, health clinics, mosques, ambulances, and the world body's Gaza headquarters, amounted to crimes against peace and humanity.

Also troublesome were the testimonies from Israeli soldiers who either refused to deploy or were deeply bothered by what they observed. Some claimed their commanders told them to "shoot and don't worry about the consequences." Others said that days before the invasion of Gaza, a gun aimed at a child, bombed-out mosques, and dead babies were designed by Israeli forces. One soldier, who claimed racism and hatred was a normal part of military training, was concerned about the moral collapse of the Israeli Army.

The International Red Cross has just reported 1.5 million people in Gaza are suffering from alarming levels of poverty. Because of the Israeli blockade, materials for re-building the Gaza Strip are being hampered. People are resorting to mud bricks and tent cities are sprawling. Not only did the Israeli invasion increase the amount of land destroyed, but Israeli forces have established a 300 meter buffer zone. Palestinian farmers have been shot and killed for tending their fields near the zone. Secret prisons filled with Palestinians are also a grave concern to human rights groups. They are not allowed access to Facility 1391, in which detainees have died in custody and are suspected of being tortured.

When the Israeli cabinet drafted a law to ban the commemoration of the Naqba, or 1948 Palestinian Catastrophe when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were ethnically cleansed and lost their homes, the lessons of the Jewish Holocaust and Nuremburg Trials evidently have not been learned. Unprovoked, prolonged, and disproportionate suffering anytime and anywhere should always be confronted and transformed. Innocent civilians should not pay for genocidal crimes committed by other nations in the past. Also, every person has a right to human dignity, property, quality of life, and peace with justice.

When former U.S. President Jimmy Carter toured the Gaza Strip, he was brought to tears and said, "Never before in history has a large community like this been savaged by bombs and missiles and then been deprived of the means to repair itself." President Barack Obama has promised a new Middle East policy and for justice to prevail for millions of Palestinians and refugees. He is committed to a two-state solution. Will it be a united Gaza Strip and West Bank, and one in which Palestinians are free to move and associate and experience human dignity?

A welcomed and hopeful sign is the Israeli military just ordered several criminal probes into how some of its soldiers and units conducted themselves during the war. It may also want to broaden the scope of its investigation to include reviewing its failed policies and peace initiatives. Until then, and with Israeli tanks and bulldozers once again slicing into Gaza and destroying homes and flattening cultivated fields, Gaza is not only a "big prison," but it is "almost" like Gaza in a jar.

- Dallas Darling is the author of The Other Side Of Christianity: Reflections on Faith, Politics, Spirituality, History, and Peace. He is a correspondent for and writes a weekly column for Iran's Javan Newspaper. You can read more of his articles at and This article was contributed to


fonte:Anis Hamadeh (artista palestiniano-Kiel Alemanha)

Festival de cinema de Toronto protestou por causa do spotlight de Tel Aviv


Toronto film festival protested for Tel Aviv spotlight
Press Release, PACBI, 31 August 2009

The following press release was issued by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel on 27 August 2009:

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) is gravely concerned that the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) 2009 has decided to spotlight Tel Aviv for its inaugural City-to-City program. We encourage filmmakers and audiences to boycott the Spotlight as it extends a gesture of "goodwill" to a colonial and apartheid regime which is violating Palestinian human rights with utter impunity.

According to program notes by Festival co-director and City-to-City programmer Cameron Bailey, the City-to-City program "will showcase the complex currents running through today's Tel Aviv. Celebrating its 100th birthday in 2009, Tel Aviv is a young, dynamic city that, like Toronto, celebrates its diversity."

The "diversity" celebrated by the Spotlight is in fact based on the erasure of the physical presence of the Palestinians, their culture, heritage and memory. The adjacent Palestinian city of Jaffa and numerous villages were emptied of their indigenous inhabitants to make way for Tel Aviv. Many refugees from Jaffa and other destroyed villages that Tel Aviv replaced reside in Toronto today, denied the right to return to their homes.

To celebrate Tel Aviv or any Israeli city for that matter is indefensible, particularly after this year's lethal assault on Gaza, while Israel continues building its illegal Apartheid wall and settlements and extends its network of checkpoints that suffocate the Palestinian population. Most recently, in the Israeli war of aggression on the occupied Gaza Strip, Palestinian civilians were massacred by Israel's indiscriminate bombing, condemned by UN experts and leading human rights organizations as war crimes. This assault left over 1,440 Palestinians dead, predominantly civilians, of whom 431 were children, and injured another 5,380. The 1.5 million Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip, the overwhelming majority of whom are refugees who were violently expelled from their homes by Zionist forces in 1948, were subjected to three weeks of relentless Israeli state terror, whereby Israeli warplanes systematically targeted civilian areas, reduced whole neighborhoods and vital civilian infrastructure to rubble and partially destroyed scores of schools, including several run by the UN, where civilians were taking shelter. This came after 18 months of an ongoing, crippling Israeli siege of Gaza, a severe form of collective punishment described by UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights as "a prelude to genocide."

Such a celebration at this time, therefore, can only be seen by Palestinians and supporters of a just peace around the world as an act of complicity in whitewashing Israel's war crimes and other grave violations of international law. It is a cynical and immoral politicization of the TIFF.

TIFF has argued that the Festival's focus is on cities and not nation-states. Tel Aviv is the seat of Israeli political and economic power. It houses the masterminds of Israel's longstanding policies of ethnic cleansing, racial discrimination and military subjugation. It is more emblematic of apartheid and colonial rule than any other Israeli city. The Spotlight on Tel Aviv is akin to celebrating Sun City during apartheid-era South Africa.

This inaugural City-to-City program is receiving funding for filmmaker participation through the Israel Film Fund, an Israeli public body that receives state funding and support, and which is part and parcel of the Israeli effort to normalize Israel's presence in the global cultural arena.

In 2008, Toronto was selected as a "test market" for a year-long public relations campaign launched by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs to improve Israel's image. Israel's consul general, Amir Gissin, announced then that the culmination of this "Brand Israel" campaign would be at the TIFF.

TIFF has claimed that the Spotlight on Tel Aviv has no relationship to the rebranding campaign but have not issued a public statement to that effect. Whether the City-to-City program is officially connected to the "Brand Israel" campaign or not, it is rebranding to the core: it serves to normalize Israel's international image, an image tarnished by decades of military brutality and violations of international law.

TIFF has a proud history of supporting independent and progressive filmmakers. It must not become yet another tool for Israel's apartheid public relations machine.

Friday, 31 July 2009

Documentário V

Este documentário retrata a situação económica actual dos habitantes do Campo de Refugiados de Balata em Nablus. Através dele podemos ter uma idea das difíceis condicões de vida enfrentadas por esta comunidade. O documentário começa por mostrar a vida dos vendedores de legumes e de outros habitantes de Balata e termina numa "fábrica de exploração" situada na periferia do campo, mostrando a forma de trabalho a que muitos palestinianos estão sujeitos devido às condicões económicas criadas pela ocupação israelita.
Este documentário resulta de uma producão conjunta entre a-films y RJI, realizada em Fevereiro de 2007.

Palestina: Pasqua em Jerusalem

fonte:Anis Hamadeh (artista palestiniano-Kiel Alemanha)

Gaza: Duas pessoas mortos num túnel...


Gaza: Two people die in a tunnel collapse, death toll stands at 10

Two Palestinian men were reported killed on Wednesday at night and Thursday at dawn as a tunnel collapsed on them at the borders with Egypt near Rafah city, southern Gaza Strip.

under ground tunnles in Gaza - File 2009
under ground tunnles in Gaza - File 2009

Local sources reported that Amed Al Haloul, 18 year old, was killed on Wednesday at night as the tunnel he works in collapsed on him.

Later another man, Hassan Khader, 43, who was working with Al Haloul, was also found dead inside the tunnel on Thursday at dawn.

The Palestinian Ministry of health in Gaza reported on Thursday that with those two killed the number of people who died due to the tunnels collapse have reached ten in the past 48 hours.

On Monday of this week seven men were killed as a tunnel collapsed on them at the southern Gaza borders with Egypt. The tunnel collapsed when the gasoline the men were channeling inside the tunnel leaked casing the tunnel to collapse.

Since Israeli but gas under total siege in June 2007 those tunnels became the sources of much needed supplies for the 1.5 million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip.

a poema: deixá-los comer Kenafah

fonte:Palestine Chronicle

Let Them Eat Kenafah – A Poem

Esteemed dignitaries .. gathered to admire the emperor's newest robe.

By Samah Sabawi and Nahedh ElRayes Jr.

They ate the world's largest Kenafah in Nablus.
And broke a Guinness world record
In absurdity and madness

Esteemed dignitaries
And press from around the globe,
All gathered to admire the emperor’s newest robe.
And to eat a slice of pastry…

Seduced by the scrumptious tasty treat
Through the checkpoints
Down the road along a Nablus street
They came…

From the fields of grief
And villages carved by an apartheid wall
Along the mud roads they walked,
Where farmers become heroes then martyrs they fall
They came…

They didn’t stop to enjoy the sight of Banksy’s balloons
On the world’s largest canvass,
Nor did they notice the security goons
And the people they harass.
They didn’t even smile when they saw the donkey
Handing the Israeli soldier his paper ID
They walked in the shadow of settlements
They walked past the powers that be
And there, in that surreal reality
They ate Kenafah in Nablus

They eat stale food in Gaza’s neighborhoods
Where merchants make a fortune selling expired goods
Digging tunnels under a city that can hold its own
Yet no such book holds a record for what Gaza is known
Guinness did not check his mail
to read about the world’s largest open air jail
One of the most condensed places on earth
Sadly though, for what it’s worth
The inmates have finally began to learn
Every night they curse El Deomocratiah
And with hungry pangs they dream Of Kenafah Nabulsiyah

They eat sour grapes in the camps, they stand alone
Silently breaking a few records of their own
They stand alone
The world’s largest refugee population
The longest standing problem at the United Nations
They wait for the implementation of resolution 194
And every night they sleep on their bare cold floor
They wait!

But this night…
From the far distance they hear
The words of their naked emperor loud and clear:

“If my people are hungry for justice and dignity,
Let them eat Kenafah in Nablus city.”

- Samah Sabawi contributed this article to

os soldados israelitas raptaram 8 civis na Cisjordânia


The Israeli military kidnaps eight Palestinian civilians

The Israeli military kidnapped on Thursday eight Palestinian civilians during pre dawn and morning invasions targeting a number of West Bank communities.

Israeli troops kidnapping a Palestinian civilian in Hebron � Photo by IMEMC's Ghassan Bannoura -File 2008
Israeli troops kidnapping a Palestinian civilian in Hebron Photo by IMEMC's Ghassan Bannoura

Palestinian sources reported that the men were kidnapped after troops conducted house to house searches in Nablus city, in the northern West Bank, Ramallah city in the central West Bank and in Hebron city, in the south.

The Israeli army radio reported that all kidnapped men were moved to military detention camps for questioning.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Relações EU-Israel: novos horizontes ou a mesma matriz de controle?

fonte:Palestine Chronicle

US-Israel Relations: New Horizons or Same Matrix of Control?

A defect in Obama's diplomacy is the foolish practice of continuing Bush's isolating Hamas.

By Iqbal Jassat - Pretoria

The current standoff between US President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the issue of 'settlements' has raised the prospect of defining a new chapter in US/Israel relations.

Media reports suggest that since Obama’s administration took office a new sense of optimism prevails regarding a “peace deal” between the Zionist state and the Occupied Palestinians.

Yet, many skeptics have justifiably raised the question about whether America’s first black president is the harbinger of real relief for Palestinian quest for freedom or merely an excuse for a new false dawn.

Their skepticism arises from the fact that Obama has either failed to recognize the inherent deception in the “Oslo Accords” of the 1990s or is willing to pursue a phantom process. By remaining stuck to the concept of a “peace process” without any hint of a major departure from Israel’s recurrent ruses seems to indicate that the Zionist enterprise remains free to write it’s own script.

After all, in 1995, one of the so-called “architects of peace”, Shimon Peres, reassured the Israeli public: “The deal kept the following in Israeli hands: 73 per cent of the lands of the [occupied] territories, 97 per cent of the security, and 80 per cent of the water.”

Commenting on this, John Pilger said that many Palestinians understood this and suspected the collusion of Yasser Arafat and his elite, who would receive unaccountable petrodollars from the Gulf States and at least $100 million from the US for a “security” apparatus that had all the trappings of a pampered palace guard that also acted on Israel’s behalf.

What’s changed between then and now? Faces. And hardly much else, except Israel’s bloodied nose in the Gaza where in violation of all norms, values and the provisions of International Laws, its military machine caused massive devastation but failed to dislodge Hamas. Mahmoud Abbas occupies Arafat’s chair, and despite lacking legitimacy, remains tied to the current rightwing Netanyahu government’s “security” apparatus and on America’s payroll.

Obama’s showdown with Israel centres on his demand for a complete freeze of settlement activity. The defiance displayed by Netanyahu with its attendant arrogance appears to signal to America and the rest of the world that Israel remains adamant in continuing its oppressive control of Palestine.

Dispatching his emissary George Mitchell to the region, which is tantamount to playing an unending game of political “yo-yo” between Abbas and Netanyahu, Obama has yet to flex his muscles. Short of placing the Israelis on terms, Obama will face similar conundrums encountered by his predecessors, albeit that his inclination to secure “peace” may contain elements of determination rarely seen in American politics.

A crucial defect in Obama’s diplomacy is reflected in his foolish practice of continuing the Bush administration policy of isolating Hamas as a “terrorist” movement. Limiting Mitchell’s travels to Jerusalem and Ramallah without extending it to Gaza; retaining the terror listing and consequent criminalization of Hamas; and propping up Abbas reveal that Obama’s “peace” efforts will not advance beyond Israeli dictates.

John Steinbach warned of this syndrome during the Clinton era, when he described Ariel Sharon’s policy known as the “Matrix of Control” and how Clinton’s pursuance of the “peace process” provided perfect cover to implement it.

The “Matrix of Control” policy formulated by Sharon in 1977, called for the establishment of strategic hilltop settlements throughout the West Bank, to be connected by ‘bypassing roads’ and reserved for the exclusive use of settlers and the Israeli army.

According to Steinbach, the “Matrix of Control was the tail that wagged the entire Clinton ‘peace process’. It brought Israel seven years of feverish settlement activity [the number of settlers more than doubled during the years of the ‘peace process’] and enabled the construction of a web of Israeli army forts and twenty-nine highways, on which Palestinians were banned, funded by the Clinton administration.”

It will remain a huge tragedy if the Obama administration remains blinded to its own complicity in Palestinian suffering while chasing shadows in pursuit of a “peace process” whose architects are the perpetrators of colossal crimes.

- Iqbal Jassat is chairperson of the Media Review Network (MRN), an advocacy group based in Pretoria, South Africa. He contributed this article to Visit:

a relacao ambivalente entre Israel e America Latina

fonte:Palestine Chronicle

Latin America in Israel's Crosshairs

Lieberman's visit force a choice on the governments and people of S. America. (AFP)

By Jamal Juma'

Does South American politics move forward in constructing a new continental and global order based on democracy, human rights and mutual solidarity or will it fall pray to Israeli strategies that undermine the emancipation of Latin America and the Global South?

The Israeli minister of foreign affairs, Avigdor Lieberman, has wrapped up a 10-day tour through South America, the first of its kind for over two decades. His trip was aimed at launching a new direction for Israeli foreign policy, which is to turn more and more to the subcontinent. The people of Brazil and Argentina have met him with loud street protest, denouncing him as an emblem of Israeli racism, fascism and colonialism. People have refused to play the quiet host to members of a regime that for over sixty years has kept Palestinian refugees from returning to their homes, oppressing the remaining population and developing ever more extreme forms of repression and apartheid. The brutal massacre and siege in Gaza at the beginning of this year, and the ongoing construction of the Wall and settlements are but two of the issues which are adding to the gradual perception of Israel as a pariah state by ordinary people across the world. However, the conflicting interests between South America and Israel go beyond solidarity with Palestine. Israel’s new South America policy forces the continent to make fundamental choices regarding its own aspirations and geopolitical alignments.

Israel’s recently strengthened interest in the region is partially motivated by the tightening avenues in Europe and North America, its traditional allies. Politically, even a conservative prime minister such as the French Sarkozy has advised the Israeli government to dismiss Lieberman in favor of a more presentable figure. At an economic level, 21 % of Israeli exporters have announced losses due to European boycotts. To offset this, Israel has recently developed much more vital and strategic interests in South America as well as Africa than in the past.

Until recently, Israel’s support for neo-liberalism and US intervention on the continent has been mainly aimed at ingratiating the Zionist regime with the US administration, on whose political and financial backing they depend. This allowed Israel to limit the influence of the Latin American liberation movements, who retained a strong attachment to the Palestinian struggle. For Israel, a colonial state built on the expulsion and ongoing repression of the indigenous population, the rise of anti-colonial and emancipatory forces anywhere of the world constitutes a potential threat to the very paradigm it is built on.

During decades of US military intervention and backing to fascist governments and dictatorships throughout the continent, Israel was there to help training paramilitary and the death squads of the dictatorships. Among others, Israeli operatives helped train right-wing Nicaraguan Contras, provided intelligence and small arms to the Guatemalan regime that killed over 200 000 people, razed villages and displaced over a million more – just as Israel had done with the Palestinians. This has opened a large market for Israeli arms and intelligence industries, but rarely was it accompanied by a comprehensive policy in trading agreements.

This is changing radically now. In times of global economic crisis and contracting markets in Europe and North America, where the first successes of the boycott movement have begun to compound Israel’s difficulties, finding new trading partners becomes crucial. Large scale expansion of markets in the Arab and Muslim world is ruled out. Even where governments are coaxed into discontinuing boycotts and sanctions, such as in Egypt or Jordan, public consensus effectively bars Israeli investments, services and products from penetrating the markets.

Latin America, and especially the Mercosur countries, such as Brazil and Argentina, are a potential life buoy for Israeli products and services. It is therefore no surprise that Lieberman has during his tour of the continent reiterated over and over again the need for the Mercosur to ratify the free trade agreement with Israel, signed in 2008. In addition, he is holding extensive meetings in each of the countries with the local business communities in order to push for further economic co-operation with Israel.

While for Israel South America has gained a renewed significance, for the people in the continent, Israel has nothing new to offer. Israeli arms and military training are still killing Latin Americans across the continent. Colombia is probably the biggest recipient of Israeli arms and training. "I learned an infinite amount of things in Israel, and to that country I owe part of my essence, my human and military achievements," admits Colombian paramilitary leader and indicted drug trafficker Carlos Castao. Even in countries like Brazil, Israel is still actively involved in the repression of the people. Amnesty International and other human rights organizations have staged a campaign asking the state of Rio de Janeiro to stop using the Caveirão, the armoured transport vehicle imported from Israel, to kill indiscriminately, to intimidate whole communities and to mount operations involving the excessive use of force. While the entire American continent has isolated the current regime in Honduras, after the overthrow of the legitimate president, the leader of the coup has announced Israeli backing to his government. Several commentators have highlighted that in the months before the coup, the Israeli embassy was the scenario of intense diplomatic movement with important representatives of the opposition, including Micheletti.

Worse, Israeli diplomacy is designed to effectively block South America’s strategic and long standing efforts to develop South-South relations, such as the creation of the Mercosur, the establishment of the Bank of the South and diplomatic efforts to create special relationships such as the IBSA (India, Brazil, South Africa) initiative. The strengthened relations with the Arab world and the energy producers of the Middle East are strategic ties which may allow the global South to play a stronger role in world politics and to create a more just world order. Israeli diplomatic efforts are working counter to all these projects. The scarecrow of Middle Eastern, and especially Iranian, influence, deployed once again by Lieberman is aimed to break up these important new ties of economic cooperation between the OPEC and other energy producing states. This is compounded by explicit calls to curtail South American unity. The virulent efforts to blackmail most of the member states of the ALBA would, if successful, fragment the integration among the countries and economies of the continent.

In fact, Lieberman’s visit to South America, and Israel’s new foreign policy strategy, force a choice on the governments and people of South America, which goes far beyond solidarity with Palestine: Does South American politics move forward in constructing a new continental and global order based on democracy, human rights and mutual solidarity or will it fall pray to those that are working against the emancipation of Latin America and the Global South?

The protests during Lieberman’s visit clarify where the people stand. They show that those that have built a colonial state on the destruction of the Palestinian people and have driven apartheid to most brutal excesses can never be allies and partners of democratic and progressive countries. In fact, the choice of countries on Lieberman’s agenda has probably not been so difficult – not many other South American states would have hosted the racist minister. Only in Brazil, Peru and Colombia the heads of state have accepted to meet with Lieberman. This gives President Lula a problematically ambiguous position – the leader of a progressive government ready to rally with those that are engaged in ongoing ethnic cleansing in Palestine and have financed and promoted the repression of the Latin American people. We hope that the recent victories won by the people of Latin America will translate into a will to impose popular demands on the governments that today still welcome Lieberman.

Palestinian civil society has repeatedly expressed its demand to South American states –not to ratify the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Israel, a treaty that will finance the oppression and dispossession of the Palestinian people. Even leaving the moral and political implications regarding Palestine aside, the treaty offers no meaningful economic profit for Latin America. Free trade with a tiny economy largely bereft of resources, such as Israel’s, would aid an insignificant number of South American businesses and workers.

The ratification of the FTA with Israel is the yard stick by which the world should measure South American politics. Accepting it, any rhetoric of human rights, democracy and common causes is exactly this – empty words which do not put any pressure on Israel; refusing it, South America can open a new chapter in the history of co-operation among the global South, and the struggle for Palestinian emancipation – a world in which sixty-year-old hollow promises are at last backed by concrete action.

- Jamal Juma’ is coordinator of the Palestinian grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign. This article was contributed to Visit:

Palestina: azeitonas

fonte:Anis Hamadeh (artista palestiniano-Kiel Alemanha)

Exército israelita fez incursões em diferentes locais da Cisjordânia e rapta dois irmãos


Israeli army raids different parts of the West Bank and kidnaps two brothers

The Israeli army invaded different areas in the West Bank, overnight from Tuesday on Wednesday. Villages were raided around Tulkarem, in the northern West Bank and close to Ramallah in the central West Bank.

Israeli troops arrest a Palestinian man - Photo from palestineremembered
Israeli troops arrest a Palestinian man - Photo from palestineremembered

In Illar, a village north of Tulkarem two Palestinian brothers were taken by Israeli soldiers after the soldiers ransacked the family’s home first.

In two other towns east of Tulkarem Israeli soldiers entered to patrol the towns, but no arrests were carried out.

In Kafr Aqab, near Ramallah, Israeli troops ransacked a Palestinian home during an army raid of the village. The home-owner told local media that the soldiers entered his house under the pretext of an inspection. He added that the troops also searched his private car.

Israel invadiu sul de Gaza


The Israeli military invades southern Gaza

A number of Israeli tanks and bulldozers invaded, on Wednesday morning, Al Qararra town on the southern borders of the Gaza Strip and Israel.

An Israeli tank in Gaza - File 2009
An Israeli tank in Gaza -

Witnesses said that bulldozers destroyed farm lands and uprooted farm lands as tanks opened fire at nearby homes, damage to the villagers' homes was reported but no injures.

Tanks and bulldozers have been invading border areas of the Gaza Strip on daily basses since the start of this week. On Tuesday midday Palestinian fighters clashed with the invading forces, no injures in both sides were reported.

usar a ONU para pôr em causa os direitos palestinianos


Using the UN to undermine Palestinian rights
Hasan Abu Nimah, The Electronic Intifada, 29 July 2009

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana (second from right) at a joint press conference with the Middle East Quartet (US, EU, Russia, and UN), June 2009. (Mark Garten/UN Photo)

European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana surprised observers on 11 July when he called, during a speech in London, for the UN Security Council to recognize a Palestinian state by a certain date even if no agreement had been reached between Israelis and Palestinians.

On its face, this proposal sounds dramatic. There must be some who still believe that a Security Council decision would result in real and drastic action. The reality, however, is that the Security Council is not the powerful executive organ it was created to be.

Yet Solana clearly angered Israel by daring to make such a proposal. Israel is not used to being surprised, and normally the big powers consult it before making any major statements about the Middle East situation. This time it seems Solana did not seek the proper Israeli permission. Yet the Israeli anger itself seemed to give added credence to the idea that Solana must have said something significant.

Solana praised the new peace initiative of US President Barack Obama and suggested that if that fails to bring about a binding agreement between the parties, then the "international community" should intervene through the Security Council. Specifically, Solana proposed:

"After a fixed deadline, a UN Security Council resolution should proclaim the adoption of the two-state solution. This should include all the parameters of borders, refugees, Jerusalem and security arrangements. It would accept the Palestinian state as a full member of the UN, and set a calendar for implementation. It would mandate the resolution of other remaining territorial disputes and legitimize the end of claims."

What this seemingly bold statement boils down to is that Solana wants the Security Council to join the chorus of those who have been singing the two-state solution song for decades. Instead of suggesting concrete measures to enforce previous and long-ignored UN resolutions, or to check Israel's violations which made a Palestinian state impossible, Solana simply wants the UN to recognize an imaginary Palestinian state as a full member of the UN.

If we try to put a positive spin on it, we could say that the "two-state solution" is already half way to being achieved. After all, one of the two states -- Israel -- has been in existence for more than 60 years, and moreover has been expanding its territory for all that time.

The problem, however, is that this "success" means that there is nowhere left for a second state. Solana, like many others, finds it easy to parrot the two-state solution, but does not have the courage to demand a complete end even to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip which began on 4 June 1967.

Having himself been such a key part of the failed peace process, Solana now wants the Security Council to "mandate" a resolution of central issues -- borders, refugees, Jerusalem, settlements and security arrangements. He does not say how the UN would do this but merely throws it to them as if these matters are minor details.

Indeed, Solana could have recognized that the UN -- the Security Council in particular -- has already dealt with these matters. Hasn't the Security Council decided repeatedly that all of Israel's settlements beyond the line of 4 June 1967 are illegal and should be removed? Hasn't it declared that Israel's annexation of occupied East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights is null and void as are all legal and administrative changes made in these territories by Israel? Hasn't the Security Council declared clearly and repeatedly that Israel's efforts to change the demographic composition of the Occupied Palestinian Territories are totally illegal and invalid?

Given that all this is the case, and the Security Council never once moved to enforce its own resolutions violated by Israel, why should its intervention matter now? If anything -- and this is likely why Solana is shy to say exactly what the Security Council should do -- he wants it to endorse fake solutions which legitimize illegality. For example, a UN resolution canceling the right of return, recognizing existing settlements, imposing on Palestinians a bantustan instead of state, and probably also mandating NATO or other international forces to occupy the state, as is the case in several Balkan countries created under Solana's stewardship.

There is no guarantee that Israel would comply with even such a resolution that endorses most of its demands. What would happen then? Is Solana proposing that the Security Council develop a backbone, that it enforce its own resolutions with sanctions against Israel? If so, that would be welcome of course, but the test is to enforce the existing resolutions which Israel and Solana, along with the rest of the peace process industry have ignored and undermined for so long.

It might have made some sense if Solana suggested that the Security Council recognize a Palestinian state in all of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, including East Jerusalem, on the borders exactly as they were on 4 June 1967. That would have signaled an intent to reinforce existing international law and bring an end to the illegal colonial occupation which the EU has subsidized and politically covered for so long.

Instead, Solana seems to be calling for the UN to endorse vague ideas and start again an entire process that has proven totally misguided and fruitless. The real worry, however, is that Solana, who has always taken his political cues from Washington, is launching a trial balloon. He may be proposing a course of action to save the Obama administration from the failure of the process being conducted by US Middle East envoy George Mitchell.

It is not far-fetched to imagine the United States, which effectively controls the Security Council, proposing a resolution embodying Solana-like ideas, and packaging this as being part of a new US commitment to international joint action and legitimacy. The Palestinians will be presented with a fait accompli where they will be told that any demands for the their legitimate and inalienable rights beyond what the resolution contains are now invalid.

Passing such a resolution, and calling it Middle East "peace" would mark a new low in the UN's abdication of its responsibilities. It would be the diplomatic equivalent of hanging up a banner declaring "Mission Accomplished" at the beginning of a long and disastrous war.

Hasan Abu Nimah is the former permanent representative of Jordan at the United Nations. This essay first appeared in The Jordan Times and is republished with the author's permission.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

o sistema educativo em Gaza.....

fonte:Palestine Chronicle

Education Setback

The United Nations and international agencies on Tuesday (July 28) warned that the Palestinian education system in the Gaza Strip might not be well prepared for new school year. At a joint news conference, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator Philippe Lazzarini, who represents the UN aid organizations in the Palestinian territories, and the Association of International Development Agencies (AIDA), representing at least 25 NGOs, called for free access into and out of Gaza in particular to reform the education system there. Israel has been imposing a siege on Gaza since June 2007, allowing only little more than basic food and medicine to enter. In December last year, it launched a ground operation in Gaza, destroying 18 schools completely and damaging at least 280, according to UN and AIDA. The Hamas government said the damage to the schools and universities during the Israeli Operation Cast Lead are worth more than 12 million U.S. dollars. None of the schools have been rebuilt or properly rehabilitated due to the lack of construction materials. The blockade has also caused shortage in textbooks, uniforms and other stuff into Gaza, the agencies said. "The blockade has caused untold suffering to children in Gaza, who face another academic year in terrible conditions", said Lazzarini. (Reference for text: Xinhua. Photo: Via Aljazeera/file)

os paletinianos em Israel devem estudar o hino zionista


Palestinians in Israel forced to study Zionist anthem
Jonathan Cook, The Electronic Intifada, 28 July 2009

A leading Arab educator in Israel has denounced the decision of Gideon Saar, the education minister, to require schools to study the Israeli national anthem.

Officials announced last week that they were sending out special "national anthem kits" to 8,000 schools, including those in the separate Arab education system, in time for the start of the new academic year in September.

The kits have been designed to be suitable for all age groups and for use across the curriculum, from civics and history classes to music and literature lessons.

The anthem, known as Hatikva, or The Hope, has long been unpopular with Israel's Palestinian minority because its lyrics refer only to a Jewish historical connection to the land.

Saar's initiative is widely seen among Israel's 1.3 million Palestinian citizens as a further indication of the rising nationalistic tide sweeping policymakers.

Last week the ministry also announced that textbooks recently issued to Arab schoolchildren would have expunged the word "nakba," or catastrophe, to describe the Palestinians' dispossession at Israel's founding in 1948.

Hala Espanioly, who chairs the education committee of the Arab minority's supreme political body, the Higher Follow-Up Committee, told the Israeli news website Ynet: "If there is an attempt to force the Hatikva anthem on Arab schools and Arab pupils, it will be akin to a kind of attempted rape of their identity."

The issue of the national anthem, based on a 120-year-old poem by Naftali Hertz Imber and an ancient folk melody, has been a running sore between Israel's Jewish and Arab populations for decades.

Arab citizens are unhappy with its heavily Zionist lyrics, which speak of how the "soul of a Jew yearns" to return to Zion, as well as referring to "The hope of two thousand years, To be a free nation in our land."

In 2005 some legislators were outraged when an Israeli parliamentary committee considered, among possible constitution changes, revising the anthem's lyrics from "the soul of a Jew'" to "the soul of an Israeli." The change was not approved.

Saar, then an ordinary politician, led the opposition to changing the lyrics: "In two words: definitely not. I wouldn't make any changes to Hatikva. It would be a compromise on the state's identity."

The refusal of prominent Arabs to sing the anthem in public has provoked several notable controversies.

The most high-profile concerned Raleb Majadele, of the Labor party, who was appointed Israel's first Arab cabinet minister in 2007. In an interview he said that, though he always stood during Hatikva, he drew the line at singing it.

He later defended his position to Israeli radio: "Where is it written that a person appointed to be a cabinet minister in Israel must stop being an Arab, and turn into a member of a different religion and ethnicity?"

Arab players in Israel's national football squad have also admitted being uncomfortable during the playing of the anthem before games. TV broadcasts often zoom in to show that their lips are not moving.

Abir Kupty, today an elected official with the Nazareth municipality, produced one of Israeli TV's most talked-about moments four years ago when she was filmed sitting down when the anthem was played. She was the only Arab contestant in a reality show to find Israel's future leaders.

Kupty said: "This decision by the education ministry is part of the current hysterical right-wing mood in Israel. They hope they can erase our Palestinian identity by making us love the anthem."

She added that Arab pupils were already deprived of the chance to learn about their own history, culture and identity. "The curriculum in Arab schools is heavily controlled by Jewish officials and by the security services."

Sofia Yoad, the education ministry's director of curriculum development, said the anthem kits included a book and two CDs containing 40 historic recordings of Hatikva, including it being sung in a concentration camp and at the Declaration of Independence.

"It is very important to learn about the national anthem even if pupils are not Jewish," she said. "After all, this is the story of a country's independence."

Astrith Baltsan, a pianist who researched and wrote the book over three years, said she had originally been commissioned to produce it for Israel's 60th anniversary celebrations last year.

But when Saar saw it, she said, he had been keen to use it in all schools. She added that, when she played the anthem at a ministry launch party last week, even the Arab schools inspectors stood. "When you know the story of the anthem, you show it respect," she said.

The Higher Follow-Up Committee, a national political body representing Israel's Arab minority, has staunchly opposed the use of the kits. It wrote last week to Saar, warning that the initiative would "only deepen the alienation of Arab students and teachers."

Figures released by the education ministry this month show that only 32 percent of Arab students passed their matriculation exam last year, compared to 60 percent of Jewish students. The pass rate was a dramatic drop from the 50.7 percent of Arab pupils who matriculated in 2006.

Yousef Jabareen, head of Dirasat, a Nazareth-based organization monitoring education issues, blamed the poor results on growing cultural bias in the Israeli education system as well as severe budgetary discrimination.

He said the increasing weight placed on Jewish heritage and Judaism lessons put Arab pupils at a severe disadvantage, and that further alienation was caused by the state's refusal to allow the Arab education system any autonomy in selecting its own curriculum.

A report published in March, he added, showed that the government invested $1,100 in each Jewish pupil's education compared to $190 for each Arab pupil. There was also a shortfall of more than 1,000 classrooms for Arab students.

Jabareen pointed out that a committee appointed last year by the dovish previous education minister, Yuli Tamir, had recommended curriculum reforms to encourage a "shared life" and common values among pupils, including more frequent encounters between Jewish and Arab students.

In April Saar quashed the committee's report.

Opposition to the study of Hatikva is shared by ultra-religious Jews known as the Haredim. They believe the anthem should include a reference to God in the lyrics, and have proposed an alternative entitled HaEmunah.

Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His latest books are Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East (Pluto Press) and Disappearing Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair (Zed Books). His website is

A version of this article originally appeared in
The National, published in Abu Dhabi.

as mentiras e as crimes da guerra de Israel


Lies and Israel's war crimes
Ben White, The Electronic Intifada, 28 July 2009

A Palestinian UN worker inspects debris after an Israeli air strike on a UN school in Gaza where civilians were seeking refuge, 17 January 2009. (Wissam Nassar/MaanImages)

This month marked six months since the "official" conclusion to Israel's assault on the Gaza Strip, "Operation Cast Lead." From 27 December to 18 January, the might of the one of the world's strongest militaries laid waste to a densely-packed territory of 1.4 million Palestinians without an escape route.

The parallel propaganda battle fought by Israel's official and unofficial apologists continued after the ceasefire, in a desperate struggle to combat the repeated reports by human rights groups of breaches of international law. This article will look at some of the strategies of this campaign of disinformation, confusion, and lies -- and the reality of Israel's war crimes in the Gaza Strip. Very early on in Operation Cast Lead, the scale of Israel's attack became apparent. In just the first six days the Israeli Air Force carried out more than 500 sorties against targets in the Gaza Strip. That amounted to an attack from the air roughly every 18 minutes -- not counting hundreds of helicopter attacks, tank and navy shelling, and infantry raids. All of this on a territory similar in size to the US city of Seattle.

As the International Committee of the Red Cross noted in a report published in June, "during the 22 days of the Israeli military operation, nowhere in Gaza was safe for civilians," with "whole neighborhoods" turned "into rubble." With areas looking "like the epicenter of a massive earthquake," there is still "half a million tons of concrete rubble" to clear. [1]

By the end of an assault which targeted schools, homes, mosques, university buildings, police stations, ministries and the legislative council building, 3,600 housing units were totally destroyed, 2,700 sustained major damage and 52,000 houses need minor repair, according to a joint UNRWA-UNDP housing survey.

Even though Israel had banned the international media from entering the Gaza Strip to see for themselves what was unfolding, enough visuals and testimonies were getting out of the fenced-in territory for Israel to have what it would call a "PR nightmare" on its hands. Israel's spinners and spokespersons fell back on a stock set of responses and talking points.

Israel, they insisted, never targeted civilians -- its military was the most moral army in the world going to extraordinary lengths to protect the innocent. Hamas, on the other hand, was cynically using human shields, firing rockets while hiding amongst their own people. Israel was said to be acting purely in self-defense -- which country, we were asked, would passively tolerate such attacks on its own population?

This latter argument has been ably dealt with elsewhere; this article is more interested in what was happening on the ground in the Gaza Strip. [2] Here the claims of a cowardly terrorist army willing to risk the lives of their own compatriots is key: in order to maintain the fiction that the Israeli army does not target civilians or civilian infrastructure, there must be doubt cast on the "civilian" identity of the dead. So Palestinian fatality statistics are questioned or even scorned -- are we sure the dead were civilians? And when this is harder to deny -- when the morgues are full of women and children -- then the fallback is that the amoral Hamas fighters are to blame for forcing Israel to kill these unfortunates.

Sometimes, however, there were specific incidents of sufficiently immediate shock value -- even for the mainstream Western media -- that simply repeating the standard propaganda lines was not good enough. In these cases, the Israeli army spokespersons would issue a series of conflicting statements of denial, admission, and counter-claim, all in the hope that enough doubt is sown as to draw the sting out of the charge being made.

Before looking at an example of this, there is one other public relations tactic worth examining, used by Israel's defenders in the media during and after the assault -- citing the Jenin "precedent." In 2002, according to this standard propaganda line here reproduced in a 16 February Jerusalem Post editorial ("The first casualty of war: Truth"), "a grossly false narrative of massacre and massed [sic] killings was disseminated by Palestinian officials," and now, in 2009 in Gaza, history was repeating itself, as "the figure '1,300 Palestinians killed, most/many of them civilians'" becomes "embedded in the public consciousness."

The comparison with Jenin is instructive, but not in the way Israel's propagandists suggest: like Gaza this year, Israeli war crimes are denied and obfuscated with a PR operation of moral bluster, claims and retractions. According to Israeli spin, Palestinian "atrocity propaganda" and claims of a massacre in Jenin were disproved when the facts became known. In fact, groups like Human Rights Watch concluded that "many of the civilian deaths" they documented "amounted to unlawful or willful killings by the IDF [Israeli army]." HRW estimated that from 52 Palestinian deaths, at least 22 were civilians "including children, physically disabled, and elderly people." In the Western media, half a dozen victims in a high school shooting is a "massacre" -- as are the suicide bombings inside Israel. But it seems Palestinians cannot be victims of a massacre; only "collateral damage."

This Israeli narrative of the "false massacre" came in useful both in the immediate aftermath of Jenin, and for propaganda purposes during and after Operation Cast Lead. Writing for The Huffington Post on 13 April, Mort Zuckerman asked readers, "Remember another urban myth alleging thousands of citizens massacred in the battle against terrorism in Jenin in 2002 when it turned out no more than 54 died, most of them combatants?" Such an approach forgets Israel's own role in spreading confusion about casualties, and more importantly does the crucial work of distracting from the documented atrocities.

A good example from Operation Cast Lead of Israel's PR machine in action is what happened in Jabaliya on 6 January, when Israeli mortar rounds landed in a busy street outside a school run by UNRWA (the UN agency for Palestine refugees) sheltering those seeking a safe haven from the fighting. A number of people inside the school were injured, and dozens of Palestinians were killed and injured in the street.

For Israeli apologists this became a notorious example of the kind of deception they say is so prevalent. Canada's Globe and Mail featured a story in February alleging that UNRWA officials had helped propagate the claim that Israeli fire had actually hit the school itself ("Account of Israeli attack on Gaza school doesn't hold up to scrutiny," 29 January 2009). Subsequently, newspapers like Haaretz and others led with headlines like "UN backtracks on claim that deadly IDF strike hit Gaza school" (3 February 2009).

The reality -- which was even buried within the very same articles in many cases -- was that UNRWA had always said the attack hit outside the school. In fact, the Israeli military itself, in the immediate aftermath of the strike, said that "it had been returning fire against Palestinian fighters who were shooting mortar shells from within the school" ("UN says school in Gaza where 43 died wasn't hit by Israeli fire," The Washington Post, 7 February 2009).

Jonathan Miller, a journalist with UK television's Channel 4, did an excellent job of exposing this "manufactured controversy." After noting that UNRWA had "said from the outset that the mortars hit outside the school," Miller described how "another UN agency, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), in one of its reports on daily incidents, erroneously stated that the mortars had actually hit the school," something later clarified. ("A tale of two Gaza schools,", 6 February 2009)

As Miller commented, Israel was "seizing on a minor error buried in an online publication by a UN agency" and using it as "a smokescreen" to divert attention from more serious incidents, such as the deadly white phosphorus attack "on the last day of the war at another UN-run school just 800 yards up the road."

The one case of a clear lie was highlighted in the report of the UN committee set up by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to investigate attacks on UN property and staff during the hostilities, a 27-page published summary of which was sent to the UN Security Council in May. The first of 11 recommendations by the UN team calls for "formal acknowledgment by the Government of Israel that its public statements alleging that Palestinians fired from within the UNRWA Jabalya school on 6 January and from within the UNRWA Field Office compound on 15 January were untrue and are regretted."

The truth of what happened in Gaza though has been emerging over recent months in various reports that catalog the multitude of crimes committed by the Israeli army. Crucially, what has been documented is not a series of individual mistakes or "bad apples," but evidence of Israel's systematic assault on the fabric of life in the Gaza Strip.

The Gaza-based Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) reported in March on fatalities during the offensive, confirming that there were over 1,400 Palestinians killed. Civilians made up 65 percent of the total, not including the 255 police officers killed by the Israeli army.

In April, Israeli human rights groups including B'Tselem and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel released a joint which said that "many civilians were killed in Gaza not due to 'mishaps' but as a direct result of the military's chosen policy implemented throughout the fighting." [3]

Earlier this month, Amnesty International published its own report into Operation Cast Lead, accusing Israel of committing "war crimes" and "acts of wanton destruction." Amnesty insisted that the hundreds of civilian deaths "cannot simply be dismissed as 'collateral damage' incidental to otherwise lawful attacks - or as mistakes." "Amnesty details Gaza 'war crimes," BBC News, 2 July 2009.

More evidence for the deliberate nature of the wide scale destruction has since emerged. On 23 April, Haaretz quoted "two infantry officers who held key positions during the fighting" who told how "we just leveled neighborhoods." British journalist Peter Beaumont wrote in May of "the aftermath of a wholesale urban un-planning through military force." ("Death and devastation in Gaza neatly filed and documented," The Guardian, 29 May 2009). Returning some weeks later, he noted that Israel's targets "suggested wider aims" than simply stopping rocket fire -- "not least the dismantling of Palestinian institutions." ("A life in ruins," The Observer, 5 July 2009)

In June, the BBC reported on the struggle of Gazan industries to rebuild, featuring a family-owned food manufacturer. The businessman, Yaser al-Wadiya, had "photographs of caterpillar tracks amid the ruins of the biscuit factory, which he believes the Israelis finished off with bulldozers after hitting it from the air." The same story then noted that "the UN's top humanitarian official, John Holmes, has accused Israel of the 'systematic levelling' of Gaza's industrial area." ("Gaza industries struggle to rebuild," BBC News, 26 June 2009)

With such a high proportion of civilian dead, it is no surprise that investigations into Israel's operation in Gaza have turned up shocking stories -- and asked difficult questions. In the introduction to Breaking the Silence's collection of testimonies by Israeli veterans of the Gaza assault, the group highlighted how the "bad apples" theory was insufficient: "the massive and unprecedented blow to the infrastructure and civilians of the Gaza strip were a direct result of IDF policy."

Just one month after Operation Cast Lead, Palestinian stories were being corroborated by the likes of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, who said "there appeared to be a consistent pattern of Palestinian families being killed by Israeli tank shells fired into their homes, apparently as they approached windows or stepped on to balconies." [4] A delegation of US attorneys visited the Gaza Strip and concluded that "Israeli forces" had indeed "deliberately targeted civilians" during the offensive. [5]

Palestinian testimonies have flooded in of crimes committed by the Israeli army in Gaza, and so have the investigations by human rights groups. At the end of June, Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported on the use by Israel of aerial drones in attacks that killed dozens of Palestinian civilians. HRW noted that the drones are "one of the most precise weapons in Israel's arsenal" yet "killed civilians who were not taking part in hostilities and were far from any fighting."

Also recently, Amnesty International's detailed study on Operation Cast Lead included cases of "close-ranging shootings" by Israeli soldiers, most of which involved "individuals, including children and women, who were shot at as they were fleeing their homes in search of shelter." [6] Others were simply "going about the daily activities." The human rights body reiterated that "wilful killings of unarmed civilians are war crimes."

A report into the number of children killed by Israel during the war on Gaza (over 300) showed that 38 percent of child fatalities were aged 0-11 years old. The "overwhelming majority" were "killed either whilst inside their own homes or within the near vicinity of their homes." [7] Here is one story:
At approximately 16:00 on 5 January 2009, Amal Olaiwa and four of her children were killed in the kitchen of their home in Shijaiyeh in the east of Gaza City, when the house was struck by an artillery shell. The shell smashed through a bedroom window and landed in the kitchen, decapitating Amal Olaiwa and killing three of her sons and one of her daughters. Three other members of the Olaiwa family were injured in the attack, including Amal's husband, Haider, and her eldest son, Muntasser, who both witnessed the attack.

The victims were identified as: Amal Olaiwa, age 40, Motassem Olaiwa, age 14, Momen Olaiwa, age 13, Lana Olaiwa, age 9 and Ismail Olaiwa, age 7.

Pausing on just some of the names of the victims is perhaps a good moment to make one final point. What the Palestinians ultimately need is not more reports, but action. The investigations are invaluable, of course, helping to show up the Israeli spin for what it is. But unless there is action by both the same civil society producing the evidence of war crimes, as well as the politicians, then we can be sure that more Palestinian names will be added to those of the Olaiwa family, and the hundreds more who perished in Gaza.

Ben White is a freelance journalist and writer whose articles have appeared in the Guardian's 'Comment is free', The Electronic Intifada, the New Statesman, and many others. He is the author of Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner's Guide (Pluto Press). He can be contacted at ben A T benwhite D O T org D O T uk.


[1] "Gaza: 1.5 million people trapped in despair," International Committee of the Red Cross, 29 June 2009 (accessed 18 July 2009).

[2] See for example, Nancy Kanwisher et al., "Reigniting Violence: How Do Ceasefires End?," The Huffington Post, 6 January 2009; Jim Holstun and Joanna Tinker, "Israel's fabricated rocket crisis," The Electronic Intifada, 6 January 2009.

[3] "Independent apparatus needed for investigation of Operation Cast Lead," B'Tselem, 22 April 2009

[4] "Gaza case studies: Weapons use," BBC News, 23 February 2009

[5] "American NLG Lawyers Release New Findings that Israel Violated International Law, US Domestic Law in Gaza," National Lawyers Guild press release, 2 April 2009.

[6] "Amnesty accuses Israel of using human shields in Gaza," Agence France Presse, 1 July 2009.

[7] "War Crimes Against Children," Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), May 2009.

Qunado os americanos querem ajudar os palestinianos?

fonte:Palestine Chronicle

When Will Americans Come to the Aid of Palestine?

The fight for Palestine must be waged and won in the U.S.

By Jeff Gates

Unless President Barack Obama resolves to expunge 'special' from the U.S.-Israeli 'special relationship,' this entangled alliance will continue to ensure that the U.S. is portrayed as guilty by its association with Tel Aviv's thuggish behavior in Palestine and elsewhere. And by the U.S. insistence that Israel not be held accountable under international law.

On July 3rd, Israeli ambassador Michael Oren claimed “Iran nuke could wipe Israel off the map in seconds.” An accurate translation reveals that what the president of Iran proposes is that Zionism be “erased from the pages of history.” But why quibble over words and their intent when Israel’s intent is to create a consensus that ensures war with Iran?

Two days after Oren’s saber-rattling speech, Vice-President Joe Biden was asked in a televised interview whether the Obama Administration would restrain Israeli military action against Iran. President Obama was then out of the country. A self-proclaimed Zionist, Biden responded, “Israel can determine for itself—it’s a sovereign nation—what’s in their interest and what they decide to do relative to Iran and anyone else.”

Unfamiliar with the refrain, “loose lips sink ships,” Biden’s cavalier comment evoked memories of Vice President Dick Cheney who routinely waited until his boss was out of town to make bellicose remarks that moved the U.S. steadily closer to war in Iraq.

Admiral Michael Mullen, chairman of the Pentagon’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, scrambled to offset the impression left by Biden’s comment. Astute strategists know it is the small impressions that, step-by-step, form the consensus beliefs that shape policy-making. It was the gradual drip, drip, drip of such impressions that created the (false) consensus belief that Iraq had WMD, ties to Al Qaeda and mobile biological weapons laboratories.

Pro-Israeli pundits quickly claimed that, with Biden’s comment, Washington had given Tel Aviv the green light to attack Iran. Mullen grabbed media attention to reconfirm the obvious: an attack on Iran could have “grave and unpredictable consequences.”

Arrogant, Aggressive & Above the Law

What has Israel done to quell these global jitters? Tel Aviv ordered a long-range Air Force exercise covering the same distance as from Israel to Iran. It dispatched through the Suez Canal a Dolphin class submarine, three of which are widely believed capable of launching a nuclear missile attack. And it sent a “message” to Iran by sailing two Saar class missile ships through the canal into the Red Sea, putting them within striking distance of Tehran.

Meanwhile, Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News played its usual supporting role by announcing Israeli Navy Prepares for Potential Attack on Iran's Nuclear Facilities. To date, Barack Obama has shown little inclination to say no to Tel Aviv and show he means it. Instead, his administration has staffed up with advisers who are disproportionately pro-Israeli—more so even than the Bush and Clinton presidencies.

When in February he failed to support the nomination of Ambassador Charles Freeman as Director of the National Intelligence Council, Obama served global notice of just how much influence Israel wields over U.S. foreign policy. Opposition to Freeman was led by Steven Rosen, a former executive of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Though you would never know it from reports in mainstream media, Rosen had been indicted under the Espionage Act for transferring to the Israeli embassy classified Pentagon intelligence on Iran.

Adding insult to the Freeman injury, Obama Attorney General Eric Holder approved the withdrawal of charges against Rosen and co-conspirator Keith Weissman, another AIPAC executive. After receiving a 12-year sentence for conceding his complicity, Pentagon Iran analyst Lawrence Franklin saw his sentence reduced to time served under house arrest and was ordered to perform 100 hours of community service. So much for accountability.

Just as he said not a word on Gaza, Obama remained silent on Freeman. Left to twist in the wind by the commander in chief, Freeman withdrew his nomination. When he vowed not to remain silent in his critique of the Israel lobby, Washington Post editors denied there was such a lobby, dismissed his critique as a “conspiracy theory” and attacked his comments as a “crackpot tirade.”

Though AIPAC avowed it took no stand on the appointment, reports confirm it leaned on key senators and later boasted that Obama was a “pushover.” In a fiery rejoinder to his critics, Freeman noted, “This is not just a tragedy for Israelis and their neighbors in the Middle East; it is doing widening damage to the national security of the United States.”

Palestinians are correct to wonder how Americans could be so unresponsive to their abuse at the hands of a U.S. ally. What those in the Middle East fail to grasp is that Americans do not know. How could they? Mainstream media is dominated by pro-Israelis and the Israel lobby politically dominates U.S. foreign policy in the region.

Freeman was correct in the mid-1990s when he described the lobby’s “virtual hammerlock on American foreign policy.” The only difference now is that Israeli influence has grown far more systemic. An admirer of Israel, Freeman cautions: “Right now it is doing itself in and taking us with it.” By seeking to induce the U.S. to wage war in Iran, Tel Aviv confirms its agenda has little to do with U.S. interests and everything to do with its expansionist goals for the region.

Self-censorship in both politics and media precludes Americans from knowing the perils that accompany the U.S.-Israeli relationship. Nor do Americans know the horrors that this alliance has imposed on Palestinians. Activist Alison Weir dedicated an aptly named website to educating Americans: If Americans Knew.

Those who know are rarities. Those who know and criticize Israeli policy are routinely smeared with the toxic charge of anti-Semitism. Following Israel’s assault on Gaza, a high profile intimidation campaign against an academic critic at the University of California worked its intended silencing effect on academic critics nationwide.

The behavior of this extremist nationalist enclave thrives in darkness, a condition that aptly describes U.S. media coverage of conditions in Palestine. Steadily more Americans are working to make Israel’s thuggish conduct transparent but the numbers are few and the challenges great.

The U.S. is branded abroad as a nation governed on the basis of informed consent. Yet pro-Israelis maintain a virtual lockdown on information and debate on Israel. The fight for Palestine must be waged and won in the U.S. where the appeasement of Israel relies on a lack of knowledge. If Americans knew, their support would be withdrawn. The U.S.-Israeli relationship will remain “special” only so long as Zionism can continue to operate in the shadows.

- An attorney, educator and former counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance, Jeff Gates has advised governments of 35 nations. He is author of Guilt By Association, Democracy at Risk and The Ownership Solution. He contributed this article to Visit:

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

o caminho para casa: Gaza emm 24 horas


Homeward bound: Gaza in 24 hours
Dr. Mona El-Farra writing from the occupied Gaza Strip, Live from Palestine, 28 July 2009

International activists from the Viva Palestina US delegation arrive into the Gaza Strip from Egypt, 15 July 2009. (Hatem Omar/MaanImages)

As soon as I arrived home I felt a great relief, if that is the right word. I have been unable to return to Gaza before because of Israel's winter invasion and the ongoing siege. I am not sure that the word relief summarizes my intense and conflicting emotions. Mixed feelings of relief, happiness, but also disorientation continued to overwhelm me. Gaza my beautiful home, yes my beautiful home, my beautiful people, who are trying so hard to live. To continue from one day to another. Despite the odds, the hardships, the deaf ears of the world.

The same day I arrived home, 9 July, I could see from my balcony the rubble of what at one time was Yasser Arafat's headquarters. The whole building was completely demolished, leveled to the ground, blowing out the windows on one side of my apartment building. It is the same place where one of my cousins was killed the first day of Israel's assault in December.

I now see a different Gaza, and it is not the Gaza I have known, it is like a city after an earthquake.

Many of the historically important buildings were leveled to the ground. I decided to postpone my field visits to the different areas where the assaults were the most savage and brutal. I thought it might be a good idea to wait for the arrival of the delegation of US citizens who were due to cross the border.

In the meantime, I met some dear friends and coworkers who came to say hello. All of them were loaded with war stories and the panic they faced during the attacks against Gaza. One friend who was a political prisoner, who spent 15 years in the Israeli jails said to me, "I never felt afraid of anything there like the fear I felt this time." I find it strange to even write this sentence, but while we Palestinians are determined to continue our struggle, the reality is that this assault against Gaza was severe and fierce, and cannot be forgotten -- we will feel its effects as a people for a long time.

Our friends from the US were only granted visas from Egypt to visit Gaza for 24 hours. As I waited I pondered, "How can we condense or begin to understand what children, women and men went through during 23 days of the assault in a 24 hours visit?"

Upon the arrival of the Viva Palestina US delegation, I sat at the borders to receive the delegation with some colleagues from PNGO (Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations' Network). It was a touching and affectionate moment for me, to see American, British, and French activists of different ages and ethnicities united under one goal and voicing to the world: "Gaza you are not alone, you are not forgotten, despite the shameful stand of the governments of the world, we stand with you, the people of Gaza!"

We had to get to work immediately, and were fortunate to have a solid team of colleagues. I was accompanied by Barbara Lubin, Director of the Middle East Children's Alliance (MECA), Reem Salhi, an activist lawyer and human rights advocate, Danny Muller, a MECA colleague, Travis Wilkerson, a filmmaker and professor, Jaiel Kayed, a Palestinian-American computer expert, Talal Abu Shaweesh, Director of New Horizons, and Mohammed Magdalawi, a student from Gaza and MECA volunteer.

In the Nuseirat refugee camp, we were invited by New Horizons to see the activities of their project loosely translated as "Let them Play and Heal," a program treating childhood trauma sponsored by MECA. The project involves activities for mothers and their children to help the children recover after the war trauma. There were around 500 kids, 6-12 years old boys and girls with their mothers attending. We had the chance to see the little faces of hundreds of happy children, singing along with a traditional debka dance performance.

We then visited the al-Bureeg School, where MECA has implemented water purification and desalinization systems to provide clean drinking water for schoolchildren. This is one of three water treatment projects MECA has recently implemented in the refugee camps, and we aim to build many more with the help of our friends and allies. We then moved to the north and while the van was going on, we could clearly see many demolished homes everywhere, and tent cities around the homes where families now lived.

We could not miss the Zaytoun area, where one of the many tragic events of the war occurred at the home of the Samouni family. The van went through neighborhood after neighborhood, through areas of vast destruction. How can I convey to you what I have seen in the little faces, eyes of sadness mixed with hope and excitement? On top of that some of the kids who had broken or missing arms and legs, post-operative scars, who are living in the rubble of their former homes, and with their little voices they tried to tell us their stories.

I listened to their stories. I stopped writing about the rest of our activities, the rest of our day, the rest of my return home. At that moment I felt, and still feel, "I don't want to hear or listen, I just want to cuddle these children and help them to forget." But I want the world to remember what was done here in Gaza, and that those of who are picking up the pieces, as hard as we try, we cannot forget.

Mona El-Farra is a physician by training and a human rights and women's rights activist in practice in the occupied Gaza Strip. Her blog is From Gaza, with Love.

Bruno: Um olhar sobre o sionismo?

fonte:Palestine Chronicle

Bruno: A Glimpse into Zionism?

Bruno yearns to be a celeb; the Zionist is craving to join the family of nations. (AP)

By Gilad Atzmon - London

Bruno, Sacha Baron Cohen's latest invention is a grotesque Austrian gay celebrity who comes to America to try to boost the ratings of his fashion television program. Bruno is one of the most repugnant characters ever to appear on the big screen, something Baron Cohen probably takes pride in. Bruno is Cohen’s third gross character in succession. At times it seems as if Cohen is seeking pleasure in being repelling. After mimicking an ignoramus stereotype of a non-black suburban male who revels in Black and Jamaican culture (Ali G) and a Kazakh misogynist, racist buffoon and anti-Semite (Borat), Bruno can be grasped as another creative attempt to challenge the Western liberal discourse.

Those who insist on approving Cohen’s intellectual aspirations argue in his favor that he manages to bring to light some of our inherent Western diseases: racism (Ali G), xenophobia (Borat) and homophobia (Bruno). I am slightly doubtful of such an interpretation of Cohen’s intellectual endeavor. None of Cohen’s protagonists can evoke empathic feelings amongst the people they harass. Instead they seem to compete amongst themselves for the ultimate Vulgar Award. Whether it is Borat, who approaches his host’s dinner table and his guests with his excrement in a plastic bag, or Bruno, who shares with us his anally intimate love games, Cohen’s protagonists are rejected for being truly and genuinely disgusting.

Yes, Cohen’s characters can be entreating, they can make us laugh; yet, the fact that they are rejected contemptibly is far from telling about our society. However, these scenes may throw some light about their creator, Mr Baron Borat Bruno Ali G Cohen and the social conditions he himself is imbued in.

Two years ago while in the process of gathering information about Cohen previous film Borat, I found out that Cohen had put back his wedding to former Home and Away star Isla Fisher due to some deep ‘religious’ reasons. "The couple," so I learned, "have postponed the big day so Isla could study the Bible in Israel before converting to Sacha's religion of Judaism." This was enough to convince me at the time that Cohen wasn’t that different from his chauvinistic, tribally-orientated protagonist Borat. For those who fail to understand the meaning of the above, Cohen is not just Jewish, he didn’t just ask his fiancée to join his extended family, he didn’t send her to a London Rabbi either. He really went for the ‘full Monty,’ that is: the Israeli experience. Cohen is in fact a devout Zionist and it would be interesting to elaborate and analyze his work from a Jewish Identity-politics perspective.

Though Ali G, Borat and Bruno have nothing to do with Judaism or Zionism, their identity struggle is, interestingly enough, a complete repetition of the Zionist identity complex. As in the case of Zionism, Ali G, Borat and Bruno are in a state of a complete dismissal of others. As if this is not enough, they are also celebrating their symptoms in public and at the expense of their victims.

Zionism, similarly, is a celebration of a newly-invented Jewish Identity. The Zionists set themselves to do it all on the expense of the Palestinian people. Until recently, some Zionist leaders refused to acknowledge the existence of Palestinian people. Zionism is a political setting that inherently dismisses others. One can look at the IDF’s brutality towards Palestinians, another can reflect on David Ben Gurion’s famous quote: “It doesn’t matter what the Goyim say, all that matters is what Jews do”. Interestingly enough Ali G, Borat and Bruno are celebrating a very similar form of dismissal. They are self-centered protagonists who care mostly about themselves and their own unique actions and symptoms.

However, as much as Bruno is by far Cohen’s most repulsive character to date, he is also, emotionally at least, the most developed character out of the three. Unlike Ali G and Borat, Bruno is self-conscious. He has clear desires and he struggles to fill his inner void. In fact the audience is mobilized as a witness to Bruno’s evolving self-awareness. As great as Bruno’s desires are, his repeated failures are no less than a total devastation. He is desperate to be accepted as a celebrity. He would do whatever it takes to get there. He would swap his iPod for an African cute little toddler just to ‘appear’ like Madonna; he would try to drag Ron Paul into a porn scene just to hit the news with an ‘item’. He interprets success in symbolic terms rather than anything that is related to merit.

Jewish nationalism is very similar. It is a project run by Israelis who crave to be a people like other people. But for some bizarre reason they fail to understand what the notion of ‘other people’ stands for. They can only understand it symbolically in terms of a set of material identifiers.

When you ask an Israeli ‘how can you be so cruel to the Palestinians?’ The answer will be thrown back at you, “Haven’t the Americans been cruel with their Indians? Didn’t the Brits do the same in India?”

The Israeli may even interpret state terrorism and barbarism as a natural symbol of sovereignty.

Bruno yearns to be a celeb amongst celebrities. The Zionist is craving to join the family of nations. Like Bruno, Zionists understand their nationhood in symbolic terms, they have a flag, an air force, nuclear bombs and wars. For some reason, it is just a genuine compassion which they lack--probably because genuine feeling and authenticity cannot be reduced into mere symbolism. It is the real love to their alleged ‘historic land’ which the Zionist fail to exhibit when shredding it with walls of separation. Like the Zionist, Bruno is pretty much stuck; he cannot transcend himself beyond the symbolic order. As much as the Zionists find it difficult to become an ordinary nation considering their symptoms (non-ethical existence together with racial supremacy), Bruno finds it very hard to integrate into society considering who he is (lacking ethical awareness and imbued in his gay solipsistic (1) universe).

While in his early work Baron Cohen managed to fail to distinguish between Identity and being, in his latest work he may have become aware of this crucial dichotomy. Gay and homosexuality, for instance, are very different categories. While ‘Gay’ refers to an Identity largely associated with a set of symbolic identifiers, homosexuality refers to a sexual preference.

Interestingly enough, throughout the film Bruno operates as a Gay icon. He is totally imbued within the Gay symbolic realm, he swings his buttocks without leaving any room for doubt about who he is and what he stands for: he wears the right clothes and uses the right manner of speech. But then, towards the very last scene, it all changes, Bruno for the first time surrenders to his true authentic sexual desire.

At a certain stage Bruno realises that in order to become a celebrity he would have to be ‘straight’. In the final scene we meet Bruno in a wrestling arena surrounded by rednecks. Bruno, the natural chameleon (2), is now an anti-Gay macho figure. He manages to evoke cheers from his new crowd by spitting some rabid homophobic statements. For a second it works. For the first time in the film Bruno is accepted by his surrounding social reality. Very much like the Assimilated Jew who follows Moses Mendelssohn’s (3) line of thought ‘be a Goy in the street and a Jew in your dwelling’, Bruno is mimicking the ‘straight’ on stage while keeping his true identity hidden, but the truth is chasing him and cannot be concealed.

All of a sudden, his ex-assistant, an authentic homosexual who has been loving Bruno all the way through appears from the crowd. “You are Gay” he shouts to Bruno as he makes his way through the throng. The assistant's role in the film is similar to Herzl’s and Weizmann’s task within the Zionist epic narrative. Herzl and Weizmann are there to tell their fellow assimilated Jews, ‘stop pretending at being American, French, British, Bolsheviks, Cosmopolitans and Atheists, you are primarily Jews and you better behave accordingly.’

In the film it doesn’t take more than a few seconds before Bruno and his assistant depart into a same-sex act of genuine love making. Seemingly, for the first time Bruno follows his heart rather than banal symbolism. This is obviously a repetition of the Zionist message. As opposed to Mendelssohn deceitful dualism, the Zionists would tell their followers: do not pretend to be a Goy, do not pretend to be a cosmopolitan, do not pretend to be a Marxist, just surrender to your real and true Jewish reality.

But here we do encounter a slight problem. While Bruno has a homosexual reality to safely land upon, it is not clear at all whether there is any Jewish coherent genuine reality except Judaism. The Jewish socialist identity (bund) collapsed half a century ago. The Zionists had been trying to claim a valid and coherent Jewish national secular identity, but all they really present us with is merciless conduct and a barbarian state terrorism that have very little in common with humanity. If there is a Jewish humanist school, the nature of its (uniquely Jewish) value system remains unclear. The lack of a coherent and consistent Jewish secular Identity may explain why all forms of Jewish secularity are highly engaged in symbolism. Whether it is Zionism, Jewish anti-Zionism, Jewish secularism or even Jewish humanism, it is almost always engaged in conveying a symbolic image rather than aiming at the real thing (4).

As much as I find it hard to cope with Cohen’s latest repugnant character, I may as well have to admit that in light of the above realizations of Bruno as an insightful metaphor, the film may not be that bad after all.

- Gilad Atzmon is a writer and jazz musician living in London. His latest CD is In Loving Memory of America. He contributed this article to


1. Solipstic: the belief that the only thing somebody can be sure of is that he or she exists, and that true knowledge of anything else is impossible

2. Not only is Bruno is a chameleon he is also invented and performed by Britain's NO 1 chameleon namely Cohen.

3. Moses Mendelssohn (September 6, 1729 – January 4, 1786) was a Jewish thinker largely associated with Haskalah (Jewish Enlightenment) and with ideas to do with Jewish assimilation.

4. Judaism is also saturated with symbolism, yet, one would expect that Jewish secularization would lead towards an authenticity that goes beyond mere symbolism.

Jerusalem oriental: novos ordens de demolição....


The Israeli Jerusalem municipality hands over home demotion orders to Palestinian families

A number of Palestinian families in East Jerusalem received on Monday demotion orders for their homes.

Palestinian owned home demolished in Jerusalem � file 2008
Palestinian owned home demolished in Jerusalem

The Israeli municipality said that the homes are built without the needed permission.

Palestinian sources say that around 1,200 homes and other structures owned by Palestinian families have been giving demolition orders since the start of this year.

Since Israel occupied the city of Jerusalem in 1967, it has rarely given Palestinian residents permissions to build homes, while it continue to construct settlements in and around the city, an act that is illegal by international law.

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